GMDAC Data Briefing – Migrant deaths and disappearances worldwide: 2016 analysis

The International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) Missing Migrants Project documented the deaths of 7,763 people during migration to international destinations in 2016. This figure represents a worldwide increase of 27 per cent from the 6,107 migrant deaths recorded in 2015 and a 47 per cent increase over the 5,267 deaths recorded in 2014. The increase in recorded deaths is consistent across almost all regions of the world, and most pronounced in the Mediterranean Sea, in which more than 5,000 migrants died or were lost in 2016. While the proportion of migrant deaths in the Mediterranean has increased significantly compared to the global total over the past three years, this may be indicative of the increased media attention to irregular migration across the Mediterranean. Data collection challenges present in many regions of the world, discussed below, mean that figures on migrant deaths represent minimum estimates, which nonetheless reflect the scale and trends of those who die during their journey for a better life.

This data briefing, produced by IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre, examines the available data on migrant deaths in 2016. Key figures for regions in which migrant deaths have been recorded – namely, the Mediterranean, Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and South-East Asia – are explored, and the challenges of data collection on migrant deaths in each region are discussed.

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